This Friday night sees the debut of the Cardiff Blues new artificial pitch at the Cardiff Arms Parks in the RaboDirect Pro 12 game against Connacht, who visit after a convincing 25 – 16 win at home to Zebre in Pat Lam’s first competitive game in charge, while the Blues will be looking to bounce back from their opening defeat away to Glasgow.
It is still early days in the RaboDirect Pro 12 but after a convincing win at home to Zebre, Connacht sit third in the league, while the Blues, unlucky to get the win at Glasgow, sit in ninth. They did however manage to get a bonus point and as with all competition sports, every point counts.
The Blues will be looking to get their first try to kick-start their season after they missed out after the TMO’s decision not to award a try to scrum-half Lloyd Williams late on in the game against Glasgow after some quick thinking from Welsh international Bradley Davies. That’s not to say that they will not score a try on Friday night as their back line consists of plenty of promising talent and the experienced Chris Czekaj, but without the battering ram that is Jamie Roberts, it is hard to see where the penetration from the Blues back line will come this season.
In contrast, their opponents on Friday night, Connacht scored three tries in their opening game of the season. Two of those tries coming from their back line in the form of wingers Fionn Carr and Matt Healy, doing what is expected of them. Pat Lam will be pleased with his debut victory after three tries helped secure victory for him. They will be looking to carry on their form into Friday’s game at Cardiff Arms Park.
Connacht won on their last visit to Cardiff Arms Park holding out for a 26 – 22 win over the hosts in February against a deflated Blues squad due to the international demands of Rugby. This game will see the Cardiff Blues new artificial pitch debut in this seasons RaboDirect Pro 12 game and it is something that players and management of the Blues are particular excited about this season. The step to install the artificial pitch was taken after last winter’s game against the Dragons, where it was more of a scene from the Three Stooges than a game of rugby in what can only be described as unplayable conditions. Phil Davies, the Director of Rugby at Cardiff Blues says that the pitch ‘promises better rugby to be played.’
That is what the fans are hoping for as the Blues look for their first win of the campaign, while Connacht look to build on their opening win in what promises to be an exciting attacking game of rugby at the Cardiff Arms Park this Friday night.
Cardiff Blues v Connacht Betting Tips
Cardiff Blues to win – 1/3 Ladbrokes
Matt Healy to score – 7/2 Ladbrokes
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By Charles Rees